Bob Brown's koala legacy

OUTGOING Greens Senator Bob Brown has unveiled legislation aimed at protecting Australia's koalas.

Senator Brown was joined by fellow Greens Senator Larissa Waters in releasing details of the Koala Protection Bill in Canberra on Wednesday.

The bill, to be introduced into the Senate in June, would make it unlawful to kill, harm or otherwise deal with a koala anywhere is Australia.

"The purpose of the bill is to make sure koalas, as an iconic Australian species and of significant cultural heritage, have special protection," said Senator Brown, who will retire from the Senate in June.

Senator Brown said the bill would also make it an offence to destroy or harm habitats in areas where the koala has been listed as threatened by the environment minister.

"The bill is in the spirit of the US law of 1940 which brought the American bald eagle, an iconic species, back from the brink of extinction by protecting it from human predators," Senator Brown said.

In 2010 the Greens initiated a Senate inquiry into Australia's koala population, which found numbers were "fast approaching a crisis point".

"The recent listing of koalas by the minister under the EPBC Act is limited to Queensland and NSW. This is not good enough. The failures of the EPBC Act over the 15 years to protect koala populations has necessitated this bill," Senator Brown said.


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